PJ’s Fine Bamboo Rods will open its first brick-and-mortar store in Pagosa Springs on Oct. 8.
The custom fly rod maker has been servicing Southwest Colorado with its e-commerce business since 2019, and the owners are finally living out their dream of opening a store.
Through the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs, the business was able to receive the resources it needed to make the transition.
SCAPE Executive Director Elizabeth Marsh said the organization selected PJ’s for the 2022 cohort because the bamboo rods were a phenomenal product.
“If you've seen their product, they’re the most gorgeous fly rods and fishing nets,” she said. “It was just such a great asset for the community.”
Owners PJ and Rosanna Dufour started the business after selling their restaurant Rosie’s Pizzeria in Pagosa Springs.
Marsh was impressed by the couple’s understanding of their market and their consumer.
The owners applied for the SCAPE cohort because they wanted to build the business in a strategic and financially smart way. It was important to the owners, who understand they are selling in a niche market.
“Being that fly fishing is an aspect of fishing, and bamboo fly fishing is an even smaller aspect of that, we knew we had a very focused and small audience that we were directing this business toward,” Rosanna said.
PJ has been an avid fly fisherman for most of his life with an educational background in the arts as well as working as a contractor for more than 30 years. He started building bamboo fly rods as a hobby when he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015 and was receiving treatment.
“From there, we just started selling them to friends and family,” Rosanna said.
The couple had wanted to open their own store previously but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they felt it was more logical to start their business in e-commerce. Rosanna compares bamboo fly rods to a luxury car.
She said people tend to like bamboo rods because of tradition and nostalgia.
“Bamboo is the oldest of fly-fishing materials, and then most of our customers come in and have great sentimental value toward bamboo fly rods from learning to fish with their grandparents,” she said.
The shop will not only sell retail products but will also offer classes in fly fishing and a six-day bamboo rod-making class starting in 2023. It is part of the couple’s dedication to developing a store with an experienced-based economy.
Rosanna said it was always their intention for the shop to be multifaceted and adding this element has bettered their brand awareness in the fly-fishing industry.
She says each rod takes between 40 and 80 hours to make. One element that differentiates their rods is the grip. She calls the grip functional art because each handle is designed for both aesthetic and grip. Because of PJ’s background in art, each handle has a different design on the grip.
“One of the biggest things we hear is, ‘Those rods are too pretty to fish,’ but they actually fish beautifully,” she said.
While the shop hasn’t been fully opened yet, the owners have been allowing customers to come in and check out fly rod projects. Rosanna said that has worked well for getting people to sign up for the various classes offered by the store.
PJ’s Fine Bamboo Rods will host a grand opening event at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 8. It will feature live music from Bob Hemenger.